This season will be the first in history to have teams play a 17 game regular season schedule. The preseason will be shortened to three games per team to make up for that extra game. This seems like a pure monetary-based change as players will be at risk of injury for longer this season. This new change brings into question what other possible updates could be made to the schedule to bring more entertainment as that is what the NFL is stating by making this change
Yearly Inter-league Rivalries
The extra game can give some flexibility to the overall scheduling that the NFL does. One idea could be to give every team an inter-league rival (NFC vs. AFC) to create more entertainment within that extra week. MLB has the Subway Series with New York and MLS has El Trafico with their two L.A. teams. A change like this could create new rivalries for years to come. An example would be the Football Team vs. the Ravens in the battle of Maryland. Another possible example could be the “King of Metlife” game placing both NY teams against each other every season. Overall this concept could be relatively easy to create and is an option I think most fans would love.
NFL Divisional Matchups
This idea could have worked with the previous schedule set-up but can work effectively with this new one. The concept is to have divisional teams play each other the first three games of the season and then the last three games of the season. Currently, teams play a division game as the last of their season, but this would add much more competition to winning divisions. The first three weeks will be “feeling-out” games allowing teams to see where they stack up with their divisional rivals. Those last three weeks, though, will be huge as division titles and playoffs spots will be on the line every single one of those weeks. Typically teams will rest star players those last couple of games but this could still create competition from beginning to end of the regular season.
This season will be interesting to see play out especially on the injury side of it. This past season in the NBA, we saw an above-average amount of injuries to star players due to a more crammed season. This is not as crammed but more games allow for more injuries to happen. Also, the fact that TV contracts have risen yet players are not being paid as much in proportion to those rising amounts of revenue. This could lead to some trouble in the future. A decision like this will make waves in the NFL for years to come and will be something to watch as the relationship between the NFL and NFLPA could become rocky again.
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